Gums are the foundation of a smile. They hold teeth in place and keep them healthy. Gingivitis and periodontal disease threatens a healthy smile, eventually leading to tooth loss if left untreated.
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SKS Dental offers periodontal disease therapy in Arlington. We treat patients with gingivitis or advanced periodontitis with a conservative approach.
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Gum disease is an infectious dental issue that damages soft and hard tissue over time. Many that have the early stage of gum disease, gingivitis, do not know they have it, making this a dangerous disease that often goes unnoticed. Symptoms of Gum disease include:
- Bleeding gums
- Tenderness or Pain
After gum disease has progressed to periodontal disease, it can harm the underlying bone and cause teeth to loosen. Eventually, infection can lead to the need for root canals or even extractions.
Periodontal disease begins when the toxins found in plaque start to attack the soft or gingival tissue surrounding the teeth. This bacterium embeds itself in the gum and rapidly breeds, causing a bacterial infection. As the infection progresses, it starts
to burrow deeper into the tissue causing inflammation or irritation between the teeth and gums. The response of the body is to destroy the infected tissue, which is why the gums appear to recede. The resulting pockets between the teeth deepen and, if
no treatment is sought, the tissue which makes up the jawbone also recedes causing unstable teeth and tooth loss.
Types of Periodontal Disease
There are many different varieties of periodontal disease, and many ways in which these variations manifest themselves. All require immediate treatment by a periodontist to halt the progression and save the gum tissue and bone.
Here are some of the most common types of periodontal disease along with the treatments typically performed to correct them:
Gingivitis is the mildest and most common form of periodontitis. It is caused by the toxins in plaque and leads to periodontal disease. People at increased risk of developing gingivitis include pregnant women, women taking birth control pills, people
with uncontrolled diabetes, steroid users and people who control seizures and blood pressure using medication.
Treatment: Gingivitis is easily reversible using a solid combination of home care and professional cleaning. The dentist may perform root planing and deep scaling procedures to cleanse the pockets of debris. A combination of antibiotics and medicated
mouthwashes may be used to kill any remaining bacteria and promote the good healing of the pockets.
Chronic Periodontal Disease
Chronic periodontal disease is the most common form of the disease, and occurs much more frequently in people over 45. Chronic periodontal disease is characterized by inflammation below the gum line and the progressive destruction of the gingival and
bone tissue. It may appear that the teeth are gradually growing in length, but in actuality the gums are gradually recessing.
Treatment: Unfortunately unlike gingivitis, chronic periodontal disease cannot be completely cured because the supportive tissue cannot be rebuilt. However, the dentist can halt the progression of the disease using scaling and root planing procedures
in combination with antimicrobial treatments. If necessary, the periodontist can perform surgical treatments such as pocket reduction surgery and also tissue grafts to strengthen the bone and improve the aesthetic appearance of the oral cavity.
Aggressive Periodontal Disease
Aggressive periodontal disease is characterized by the rapid loss of gum attachment, the rapid loss of bone tissue and familial aggregation. The disease itself is essentially the same as chronic periodontitis but the progression is much faster. Smokers
and those with a family history of this disease are at an increased risk of developing aggressive periodontitis.
Treatment: The treatments for aggressive periodontal disease are the same as those for chronic periodontal disease, but aggressive periodontal disease sufferers are far more likely to require a surgical intervention. This form of the disease is harder
to halt and treat, but the dentist will perform scaling, root planing, antimicrobial, and in some cases laser procedures in an attempt to save valuable tissue and bone.
Periodontal Disease Relating to Systemic Conditions
Periodontal disease can be a symptom of a disease or condition affecting the rest of the body. Depending on the underlying condition, the disease can behave like aggressive periodontal disease, working quickly to destroy tissue. Heart disease, diabetes
and respiratory disease are the most common cofactors, though there are many others. Even in cases where little plaque coats the teeth, many medical conditions intensify and accelerate the progression of periodontal disease.
Treatment: Initially, the medical condition which caused the onset of periodontal disease must be controlled. The dentist will halt the progression of the disease using the same treatments used for controlling aggressive and chronic periodontal disease.
Necrotizing Periodontal Disease
This form of the disease rapidly worsens and is more prevalent among people who suffer from HIV, immunosuppression, malnutrition, chronic stress or choose to smoke. Tissue death (necrosis) frequently affects the periodontal ligament, gingival tissues
and alveolar bone.
Treatment: Necrotizing periodontal disease is extremely rare. Because it may be associated with HIV or another serious medical condition, it is likely the dentist will consult with a physician before commencing treatment. Scaling, root planing, antibiotic
pills, medicated mouth wash and fungicidal medicines are generally used to treat this form of the disease.
Treatment Options for Gum Disease
Patients that show signs of early gum disease can benefit from a preventive, proactive approach. Early care involves prophylaxis to reduce bacterial growth and encourage natural healing to take place.
Patients with onset gingivitis undergo scaling and root planing. Deep cleaning is a procedure that eliminates tartar buildup from below the gum line and smooths away bumps on teeth to discourage regrowth. Once clean, a patient’s gums naturally reattach
to teeth and restore health.
Advanced periodontitis may warrant surgical intervention. We offer consultation for periodontal therapy involving gum flap surgery or other measures to restore the smile.
Gum Health and the Rest of the Body
Why is it just as important to focus on your gums as you do your teeth? Gum disease has been connected with several systemic issues, like heart disease, diabetes, and Alzheimer’s disease.
Since the entire body is connected, bacteria can invade vital organs by travelling through the bloodstream. Gum disease gives bacteria a direct route to the bloodstream and to other parts of the body.
Our team works hard to keep Arlington smiling. We provide preventive and advanced periodontal therapy, helping patients restore their oral health and improve their smiles.
Call our practice today to schedule a consultation with Dr. Smita Sabharwal for an examination and to explore your options for care.